Moving Pictures

blog-newsletter - horse-in-motion
animated build sequence for park avenue west
A "flipbook" style presentation showing construction phasing of the Park Avenue West tower in Downtown Portland. The project was put on hold in 2009, and has since been redesigned.   time-lapse video of anvil building construction sequence
Footage for this time-lapse film was captured over a six month period in 2009. The Anvil is a two-story wood framed commercial building in Portland.
fly-thru visualization of north williams ave safety proposals
This fly-thru animation sequence shows different perspectives (pedestrian, cyclist, and driver) of proposed street configurations for North Williams Avenue in Portland.
Animation has come a long way since the pioneering work of Eadweard Muybridge in the 1880s. Read the closing credits next time you watch a Pixar movie, and you'll appreciate the time and cost involved in creating a feature length animated film.
But behind all that Hollywood magic, animation is just a series of images presented in rapid succession to create the illusion of motion. At Fat Pencil Studio, we use some simple techniques to create dynamic presentations at a reasonable cost.
Animation can be created using nothing more than pencil and paper, by drawing the same scene many times with minor differences on each sheet of paper. We use a digital version of this approach to help explain phasing plans for construction projects. The camera angle is fixed as the drawing changes over a series of slides.
Extending this approach into the real world, a camera installed in a fixed location can take pictures at regular intervals over a long period of time. This is called time-lapse photography, and it's a great way to visualize things that happen slowly, like plant growth, or building construction.
There is a limit to what can be shown from a single camera angle. Animating the transition between multiple "scenes" can help viewers understand the context of different perspectives. After creating an accurate 3d model for a project, we define a camera path for the virtual tour. Here are a few things we've illustrated using this approach:
  • sites of interest for a court case
  • perspectives of different roadway users
  • key elements of a construction site logistics plan
So far, we've looked at options for animating a fixed camera view and moving a camera through a static 3d model. Next month, we'll continue our focus on simple animation techniques with a look at moving objects inside a scene.   Would an animated presentation help explain your project? Contact us at 503-465-4533 if you'd like to discuss ideas.

Fat Pencil Studio is a visual presentation company.